In 2012, Molson Coors adopted a new target for water conservation out to 2020 to build on past achievements and continue to reduce our water footprint: Reduce our water intensity by 20% with respect to 2011. However, we recently underwent a process of developing a long-term Sustainability Strategy for the global operations and this brought to light the shortfalls of this ‘across the board’ approach to conservation. More specifically, it ignores the nature of our water footprint at different sites. In some of the communities, the greater impact of our operations is on aquifers from which we draw water. In others it is on the municipal waste water treatment facilities that treat our waste water.
This led to a reflection on how best to reduce the water footprint of our operations. As a result, we have adopted an impact and risk-based approach to resource allocation to manage water. We will target ambitious water conservation in those breweries in which we face a risk to the security of supply but will focus on waste water management in those in which the impact and risk is on the water output from our breweries. Breweries with a high risk to their water supply, (measured objectively using the Molson Coors Water Risk Tool based on water catchment studies), will be required to get to a world class water efficiency of 3.0 to 3.5 hl/hl depending on the complexity of the brewery. All other breweries will continue to have water conservation targets that drive continuous improvement.
Given that only 2 of 20 of our breweries are in watersheds in which security of supply is a material risk and our water use is of particular concern, the effort to bring them to world class levels will have only a small effect on the overall water intensity despite having a much larger impact on reducing our water footprint. For this reason, we have decided to adjust the 2020 water intensity target downwards from 20% to 15%.
Despite the revision of the target, we will increase our resources and focus on waste water management which has a greater water footprint in the majority of the watersheds in which we operate. Molson Coors is investing in anaerobic digestion waste water treatment technology as a means to reduce this footprint. We currently have 5 breweries operating anaerobic digestion plants and are investing in at least 3 more that will come online in the next year or two.